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SEEK AND FIND: Local author Tracey Zeeck’s "The Not in Here Story" embraces adoption journey

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OKLAHOMA CITY – According to Child Welfare statistics, 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. It’s a brave, momentous decision that can not only be a rollercoaster of emotions and decisions for the parents, but for their prospective children too.

It’s a journey that local PR guru Tracey Zeeck knows all too well, and it’s also the inspiration for The Not in Here Story, her latest children’s book that has been garnering nationwide acclaim for its emotionally honest depiction of infertility and, ultimately, its celebration of adoption.

“I work in communications, so it's natural for me to have "prepared words" for all kinds of situations,” Zeeck said. “So when we adopted, this book started forming sort of as my version of "prepared words", for our baby. It started off as a story we used to tell our son, the journey we took to become his parents and adopt him. But then about four years ago, I started aggressively trying to sell it, after seeing how it helped other families with whom I'd shared it in its roughest form.”

In the book (illustrated by David Bizzaro), the furry monster Seek family find out fast that starting a family isn’t going to be as easy as they thought. Traveling through deserts, mountain and jungles to find that missing piece of their life, they eventually come to an understanding that what they needed most was in front of them the whole time.

Since the book’s release, Zeeck said that both parents and kids have “enjoyed” the book, with many relating their own similar story to hers, finally happy to find a book that featured all the relatable emotional issues that occur with the adoption process, as well as the biological and relationship issues that are normally ignored in children’s books.

“That was the intent—to write something for families like mine,” Zeeck said. “The surprise to me however, was how much adult adoptees have enjoyed it. I'm really proud of that part. And also people who maybe struggled with infertility, but eventually conceived, they've enjoyed some of the more adult-targeted inside jokes in the book. It's been really rewarding all around.”

The book could not come at a more apropos time—November is National Adoption Month—and as she tours Oklahoma City and beyond in support of The Not in Here Story (future signings include Saturday, November 18th at 11 a.m. at Barnes & Noble, 13800 North May Ave., as well as Saturday, November 26 at noon at Green Bambino, 5120 North Shartel Ave.), she hopes the one thing that people who read the book, adults and children alike, will gain is “empathy” for the every part of this process.

“I think we could all use a boost of empathy,” Zeeck said. “But when it comes to something as touchy as reproducing, I mean it's our jobs as human animals, right? And you feel like you're a failure for a while if you're not able to do the thing that's supposed to happen so naturally. Then everyone around you starts to reinforce that, so you start to really believe it. You have to learn how to shut out the noise around you to make a decision that's right for you. And there's a lesson in there for everyone.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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